1985 Celica Charging Woes - Toyota Celica Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy 1985 Celica Charging Woes

Helping my son with his 1985 Celica GT. This is the last of the 3rd generation RWD models.

Problem started as what seemed to be a run-of-the-mill bad alternator. The car was charging little or not at all when running. We replaced the alternator and battery. Seemed okay at first, then the issue returned after a week or so. Even though they tested good at the stores, we were able to get the alternator and the battery replaced. Short trips around town showed the voltage at 14V when running - we thought we were good to go. Then last night I had to drive 60 miles last night to rescue his stranded car. The belt seems to be fine and the alternator was spinning, but the car was running off the battery for sure... headlights very dim when running and voltage gauge showed ~5v.

I got home so late last night and had to go to work this morning, so I have not been able to take a fresh look at the car.
I don't know if the car will start and charge this morning or not (since it's now stone cold).

A couple things I am thinking...
1. Voltage Regulator? I thought it was built into the alternator, but then I see Rockauto shows a separate Voltage Regulator (see attached pic)

2. Ignition Coil? I've never had an ignition coil cause me this trouble, but someone suggested this as a possible source of the trouble.

The car does leak oil, and some of it gets on/in the alternator in the past. That seems like a stretch to me, but I am open to the idea that oil is screwing up the alternator.

I wanted to see if y'all perhaps have encountered this before or had some troubleshooting/repair ideas.

Thanks everyone - Walter
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I'm still fighting this issue.


I now have an ammeter connected in series from the big lug on the alternator.

When I start the car when cold, the alternator seems to be charging 30+ amps for about 15 seconds, then it stops charging. I have verified that the big lug connection on the alternator is tight. The 3-pole snap-on wiring connector on the alternator is tight. Of the three poles, I get 12V all the time on the fat black wire, and I get 12V only when the key is on (car running or not) on the other two wires (skinny black and skinny yellow).

When I turn on the key, the red battery light on the dash comes on as it should. When I start the car, even with it not charging, the light remains OFF. I have checked the CHARGE and ENGINE fuses - both good. I have checked both fusable links - both intact.

To solve this issue, I have replaced the alternator, the battery and the ignition coil.

I am really perplexed. If anyone can offer help, I'd really appreciate it. I cannot rely on the car at all at this point.

Thanks --- Walter
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 04:05 PM
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on some aftermarket alternators, you need to use an adaptor plug because the contacts in the alternator where the wire harness plugs into the alternator are reverse. also, you can connect an amp meter to the battery to make sure you are getting 13 1/2 - 18 volts when running. somewhere between 14 and 15 volts is ideal. if you are not, it might be as simple as replacing the charge fuse in the fuse box.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 09:31 PM
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Check your grounds well.

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